As the hemp and cannabis industry’s progress in legalization has rapidly developed across America, its products and supply chain as a whole has swiftly followed suit. This is due to the blossoming of the Green Rush in 2012, which brought new laws and a massive bloom to the industry, enabling more research into our favorite flower and other alternative cannabinoids like delta-8 THC.
This green bloom also created a more robust industrial and economic cannabis machine, allowing for more saturation of manufacturers, farms, and products to emerge all across the board. This meant more THC products, at a better price, for everyone. And who doesn’t want that?
So naturally, our buddies at the extraction labs and cultivators around the nation have worked their magic and found ways to create higher quality products at a more rapid pace for a better price. Proving to be mutually beneficial for the industry and consumers alike.
For example, in a matter of three years, the cost of some concentrates has dropped nearly 500 percent—making delta-8 vapes and disposables the forerunners of the concentrate market. Creating an economic opportunity for companies to develop a more significant disposable device that holds twice the amount of concentrate for a fraction of the cost.
Of course, this goes for all concentrates, but as a great example of progressive legality and product availability, delta-8 has been held in high regard and should be mentioned specifically.
Now, when they’re talking about delta-8, they’re not talking about the unregulated snake oil you can purchase at your local gas station. No, they’re talking about the real-deal Holyfield, full-panel lab-tested, euphoric, powerhouse type of stuff—you know, the clean and potent concentrate that actually gets you high.
But, of course, if delta-8 doesn’t even scratch the surface of your psychoactive threshold, then let’s face it, you’re probably on some Cheech & Chong, Seth Rogan, Snoop Dogg, God mode type level of tolerance where dabs or diamonds should be your preferred ticket to cloud nine anyway. But for the rest of the population, especially those in states still closed off to traditional marijuana, the standard of a bigger and better delta-8 disposable vape will be a godsend to both rookies and veterans alike.
Read on to see why two-gram disposables vapes will be the new norm in the future and why bigger, in this case, is definitely better.
Legal and Larger Devices for a Longer High
With the seemingly inevitable legalization of cannabis, the Farm Bill of 2018 has paved the way for the integration of more and more legal cannabinoids to enter the game. And leading the way of this legal renaissance has been delta-8 THC and their most sought-after device, the disposable vape.
Now, with most states open to delta-8, manufacturers have had free reign to develop a bigger, better, and more affordable device for consumers on the legal market. That means a more affordable disposable that carries a longer psychoactive capacity, available to ship safely, legally and discreetly to your front door.
That being said, there are hundreds of different disposable vapes out there, and their life span can vary from vape to vape for many reasons, such as how often you hit them and for how long. But on average, a one-gram disposable will last you around 350 draws, assuming your draws are around two seconds each.
This essentially means a two-gram disposable, as you would expect, carries a tank capacity of 700 draws for a much longer life span per device, taking you further than the smaller device ever could. In marathon terms, that means with a two-gram delta-8 vape at your “disposal,” you’ll initially be the Lance Armstrong of your very own cannabis Tour De France, but this time “doping” is legal.
A Price Point that Benefits Consumers
If you’re anything like Snoop Dogg, that means getting high is one of your favorite pastimes, but you also have your mind on your money and your money on your mind. We all know that getting high and staying high is no cheap task. However, with concentrate prices falling dramatically as more and more legal states open up, manufacturers can create disposables with more oil that are much more cost-effective.
Now we’re at a beautiful point where it makes economic sense for companies to create a larger capacity device capable of seeing you through a blissful, psychoactive journey, all the while ensuring that you’ll make much fewer stops at banks and ATMs along the way.
As of January 2022, the average one-gram delta-8 disposable sells for $40, while the average two-gram disposable sells for $50. That means for an extra $10, you’ll receive a whole extra gram. To put this into even more perspective, for every two extra-large disposables you purchase, you’ll be saving $60.
This means you can buy an extra one-gram vape with the money you saved and still have $20 leftover, which can go towards gas, munchies, or even your next high-time adventure! If you’re already smoking one-gram delta-8 disposables, making the upgrade to a two-gram device should be a no-brainer.
Reducing Waste with Discretion and Convenience
Ah, yes, discretion. Any pothead should have this word in their repertoire or vocabulary, especially if you’ve been partaking since the early days when legality was not on the side of your everyday smoker. Nowadays, especially compared to the old times, you could say the millennial and gen-z generational stoner has been spoiled by progressive cannabis laws, and by no means is that a bad thing.
In fact, there should be more freedom of smoke all around the nation! But even if marijuana or delta-8 is legal in your state, there are still many reasons for discretion, especially if you’re in a setting that involves people who might not share the same love for cannabis, or maybe you’re in a location that’s shrouded with responsibility, like around underaged kids or in a work environment.
With discretion should come convenience. In this case, they go hand-in-hand. One-gram vapes are already the most suitable inhalation product on the market for their compact size, pre-filled chamber, long-lasting battery, and portability that makes them functional for use in any setting. So, does that mean bigger isn’t better? In this case, when they say “bigger,” they’re not talking about the device’s actual size but the capacity of what it holds.
Most two-gram disposable vapes are only 30 percent bigger, relative to the physical size of traditional one-gram vapes—still making them compact, discreet, and portable. This means they also take fewer materials to create, essentially reducing waste and the ecological footprint—allowing the environment to take a slight breather.
The Bottom Line
Whoever said two is better than one definitely nailed it on the head. With the evolution of the cannabis industry and legality opening up as the days go by, it finally makes economic sense for companies to introduce two-gram disposable delta-8 vapes into the market. Opening the door for consumers to gladly reap the benefits of a compact, safe, user-friendly device for a fraction of the cost.
Companies like Delta Munchies are leading the way to re-vitalizing the free spirit of cannabis nature with their fun and educational approach to alternative cannabinoids. They’re currently offering a buy 2 get 1 free deal for their revolutionary two-gram vapes. Click here to learn more.
Synthetic CBD might offer protection from COVID-19, Canadian research shows
(This story first appeared at Hemp Industry Daily.)
More research saying cannabinoids might protect human cells from COVID-19 was released this week by scientists in Ontario, Canada, who work with synthetic CBD.
Researchers at the University of Waterloo reported in a pre-peer-reviewed study that the synthetic CBD “appears to prime the innate immune system of cells, potentially offering protection against pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2,” the virus that causes COVID-19 illness.
The University of Waterloo research, coupled with an Oregon State University announcement that two hemp cannabinoids might protect human cells from SARS-CoV-2, lends additional firepower to CBD manufacturers who have long had to rely on anecdotal evidence more than academic studies to argue for the plant’s medicinal value.
The Oregon State research found that two hemp compounds – CBDa and CBGa – can prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells.
Synthetic CBD works by augmenting the anti-viral response of cells to three key proteins produced by the SARS-CoV-2 genome, the Waterloo scientists concluded.
They looked at anti-viral responses in human kidney cells – alone and in combination with CBD – and the effects of CBD in healthy control cells.
“When cells in the lungs or the digestive tract are infected with a virus, they have an ability to sense and respond, even before the immune system notices a virus is present,” Robin Duncan, the study’s lead investigator and a professor in Waterloo’s Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, said in a statement released by the university.
“They do this by activating innate responses inside of cells, which form the first line of defense.”
But this early response system hasn’t been good in the case of COVID-19, which has led to high infection rates, Duncan added.
“With an RNA-type virus, like SARS-CoV-2, cells should activate an innate system that cuts up the viral genome, which also causes infected cells to undergo a process called apoptosis – a sort of controlled cell death that gets rid of infected cells early on,” she said.
This process stops or slows infection in the body or to others.
“When we combined CBD with these viral proteins, they had a much better ability to activate this system and to activate apoptosis,” Duncan said.
In cells that had not been exposed to the SARS-Cov-2 proteins, CBD in therapeutic amounts seemed to prime their innate anti-viral system and made them more ready to fight a viral infection, even without activating apoptosis, Duncan said.
CBD at the right dose could help cells get ready to respond to a virus, but it doesn’t cause a response unless it’s needed, said postdoctoral fellow Maria Fernandes, who performed the cell studies.
This theory is supported by evidence from a study of patients who use a high-dose, CBD-based pharmaceutical drug licensed in the U.S. (Epidiolex) to treat rare types of epilepsy, Duncan said.
The study, conducted by scientists from the University of Chicago, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, showed that patients taking prescription high-dose CBD had around a tenfold lower risk of testing positive for COVID-19.
“If you look at the last figure, they report on the risk of testing positive for COVID-19 in people using Epidiolex, and analyze the information in a variety of different ways,” Duncan told Hemp Industry Daily.
The University of Chicago research was released as a pre-peer-reviewed study in March 2021.
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“Normally, scientific studies are released, after undergoing peer review, by the journal in which they will be published,” Duncan said.
“However, given the urgent need to share information related to COVID-19 as quickly as possible, many researchers are now posting pre-peer-reviewed versions.”
The Waterloo study was co-written by Duncan, Fernandes, John Chan, Joey Hung and Michelle Tomczewski.
The university says the study is under review in the journal Life Sciences.
Most Americans Predict Biden Won’t Uphold Marijuana Decriminalization Promise In 2022, Poll Finds
Thursday marks the end of President Joe Biden’s first year in office—and, by and large, his campaign promises on marijuana policy have so far gone unfilled. And while certain federal agencies have taken some positive reform steps, the administration managed to stir controversy over some outwardly hostile actions with respect to cannabis policy.
Contrary to Biden’s campaign pledges, cannabis has not been federally decriminalized, people remain in federal prison over non-violent marijuana offenses and the plant has yet to be rescheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. Of the cannabis promises that Biden made while running for president, just one has been met so far: the government has continued to let states implement marijuana reform mostly without federal intervention, though ongoing lack of clarity from the administration has caused continuing complications for the industry and consumers.
In one of the more notable positive developments to come out of the Oval Office, however, Biden did sign an infrastructure bill last year that contains language meant to help promote marijuana research.
While there were numerous successes on the reform front in 2021 those mostly came at the state level, and advocates feel disappointed by the overall White House inaction—especially considering that it was promised to voters ahead of the 2020 election.
It’s not just that there were no meaningful reform actions in Biden’s first year, either. It’s that some of the few actions he did take on marijuana—proposing in his budget to keep blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing cannabis sales and punishing White House staff who were honest about past marijuana use—were setbacks in the movement.
Biden himself hasn’t made a substantive public comment about cannabis policy since entering the Oval Office, beside making a quick, dismissive comment to a reporter who asked about clemency for current prisoners. Vice President Kamala Harris, for her part, said last year that the Biden administration isn’t focused on following through on its marijuana reform pledges because it’s too overwhelmed with responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Biden Administration’s failure to live up to campaign statements and, in the case of including a rider preventing D.C. from regulating cannabis in his budget proposal, even backsliding on cannabis is extremely disappointing,” Morgan Fox, the newly installed political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “This inaction on modest cannabis policy reforms over the past year is inexcusable and is a betrayal of the people that put the president in office.”
“The president has an opportunity with cannabis to show initiative and leadership on an issue that enjoys broad bipartisan support,” he said. “Continued inaction on this issue will have negative consequences for his party this year and in 2024.”
Here’s a rundown of what has happened with marijuana and broader drug policy under the Biden administration in its first year:
Promise Made, Promises Not Kept
When he was running for president, Biden frustrated advocates by declining to embrace broad marijuana legalization like most of his Democratic primary opponents did at the time. But they were at least encouraged that he voiced support for more modest reforms like federal decriminalization, legalizing medical cannabis, rescheduling and expungements.
“We should decriminalize marijuana,” he said during a town hall event in October 2020, adding, “I don’t believe anybody should be going to jail for drug use.”
He reiterated the pledge in numerous interviews, debates and tweets, as well as in a campaign ad.
But despite having the authority to unilaterally issue a mass pardon for people with federal cannabis convictions—as advocates and lawmakers have repeatedly pressed him to do—Biden has only ceremonially pardoned turkeys around Thanksgiving since taking office.
Following that ceremony, The New York Post’s Steven Nelson pressed the president on cannabis clemency, asking him if there were plans to pardon “any people in addition to turkeys.” Biden jokingly replied, “you need a pardon?” and didn’t respond to a follow-up question about marijuana prisoners.
The White House has been asked about the issue several times now, but while Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently said that the president has “every intention of using his clemency power” and is “looking at” relief for non-violent drug offenders, no meaningful action has been taken.
While on the campaign trail, Biden also came out in favor of moving marijuana from Schedule I to II under the federal Controlled Substances Act—an incremental move that wouldn’t legalize the plant but could make it easier for researchers to study its risks and benefits.
Psaki said in April that Biden’s clemency promise for people with federal marijuana convictions and said that process would start with modestly rescheduling cannabis. But even if rescheduling could help people with cannabis records (experts say it would not), the administration has so far taken no real steps to accomplish that reform.
While experts say it may not be possible for a president to unilaterally remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, he could encourage agencies like the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice Department to initiate the rescheduling process.
The lack of clemency action is especially disappointing to advocates who have been lobbying the White House to do something on this issue.
Biden has received about a dozen letters from lawmakers, advocates, celebrities and people impacted by criminalization to do something about the people who remain behind federal bars over cannabis. After months of inaction, some members of Congress like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have even sent follow-up letters demanding a response.
A recently published Congressional Research Service (CRS) report affirmed that the president has it within his power to grant mass pardons for cannabis offenses. It also said that the administration can move to federally legalize cannabis without waiting for lawmakers to act.
To his credit, Biden has so far kept his campaign pledge to continue to let states legalize and regulate marijuana without federal intervention. But advocates had hoped that he would at least push for the reinstatement of Obama-era Justice Department guidance to prosecutors that generally urged them not to interfere with state laws but which President Donald Trump’s first attorney general rescinded.
Without that guidance or any other concrete reform steps, banking challenges and risks remain in the cannabis industry, marijuana businesses are unable to receive tax credits like other legal industries and other hardships resulting from the federal-state policy conflict remain intact for consumers and patients. In effect, Biden has maintained the status quo of uncertainty that has been in place during the Trump administration and last half of the Obama administration.
Early in 2021, the Biden administration came under fire after it was reported that it had terminated or otherwise punished dozens of staffers who admitted to prior marijuana use as part of their background check process.
Psaki previously attempted to minimize the fallout, without much success, and her office also stressed that nobody was fired for “marijuana usage from years ago,” nor has anyone been terminated “due to casual or infrequent use during the prior 12 months.” However, she’s consistently declined to speak to the extent to which staff have been suspended or placed in a remote work program because they were honest about their history with marijuana on the federal background check form.
As part of his fiscal year 2022 budget proposal, Biden included a rider that would continue to block Washington, D.C. from using its own tax dollars to legalize adult-use marijuana sales, declining to recommend that existing language barring such activity be eliminated. Democratic lawmakers have moved forward with removing that rider anyways
After receiving a letter from a congresswoman concerning executive discretion for cannabis consumers, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said it is required to continue denying federally assisted housing to people who use marijuana, even if they’re acting in compliance with state law.
The federal government has generally taken a hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement in states that have chosen to legalize the plant, but it was reported late last year that a federal agency raided a small, home cannabis garden of a medical cannabis patient living on Indian territory in New Mexico. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) raid occurred in September.
Biden’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said last year that it continues to oppose a bill that would require it to conduct clinical trials into the therapeutic potential of marijuana for military veterans. A House committee advanced the legislation in any case. A VA representative told lawmakers that the department is “already dedicating resources and research expertise to study the effects of cannabis on conditions affecting veterans.”
“President Biden has made little progress in supporting drug reform laws at the federal level and in some instances, has even taken us further back,” Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Marijuana Moment.
On broader drug issues, she added that the administration backed a broad scheduling policy for fentanyl-related substances that “will have a devastating impact on the criminal legal system and set a horrific precedent for drug scheduling moving forward.”
“Moreover, President Biden has failed to embrace marijuana legalization even though he claims to support decriminalization of the substance,” Perez said. “As long as marijuana remains on the CSA, people will continue to be policed, arrested, and imprisoned for marijuana activity. This is deeply problematic particularly because this president made bold promises around criminal justice reform and racial justice for which he has not delivered.”
Federal Actions On Marijuana
There were some positive developments in drug policy reform that came out of federal agencies and the White House last year.
Biden signed a massive infrastructure bill in November that includes provisions aimed at allowing researchers to study the actual marijuana that consumers are purchasing from state-legal dispensaries instead of having to use only government-grown cannabis. The legislation also encourages states that have enacted legalization laws to educate people about impaired driving.
In his 2022 budget, Biden proposed continuing a spending bill provision that’s been annually renewed by Congress since 2014 to prevent the use of Justice Department funds to interfere in state medical cannabis programs. That was the first time a president has moved to keep that rider.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) under Biden has also moved on several occasions to greatly increase legal production quotas for illegal Schedule I drugs like psilocybin, MDMA and DMT.
And several years after first announcing that it would take steps to break the federal marijuana manufacturing monopoly for research, it has finally issued new licenses outside of the University of Mississippi.
Meanwhile, DEA has given hemp businesses that sell delta-8 THC products a boost, with representatives making comments recently signaling that, at the federal level at least, it’s not a controlled substance at this time.
Employment policies related to marijuana have also been shifting within federal agencies under Biden, despite the controversy of his administration’s cannabis-related firings.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said in a memo distributed to agencies last year that admitting to past marijuana use should not automatically disqualify people from being employed in the federal government.
More recently, the director of national intelligence (DNI) said federal employers shouldn’t outright reject security clearance applicants over past use and should use discretion when it comes to those with cannabis investments in their stock portfolios.
FBI quietly updated its hiring policies last year to make it so candidates are only automatically disqualified from joining the agency if they admit to having used marijuana within one year of applying. However, it later revised the policy again to add a stipulation that applicants are ineligible if they’ve used cannabis more than 24 times after turning 18.
In September, The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) proposed a change to the federal drug scheduling system that it hopes will streamline research into Schedule I controlled substances including marijuana and psychedelics such as psilocybin. DEA and NIDA later said that they supports the plan.
While the Biden administration has yet to take a position on policy proposals to authorize safe consumption facilities and a related court challenge against them that are carried over from the Trump administration, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) put out a pair of requests for applications last month for an effort that will provide funding for efforts to investigate how that and other harm reduction policies could help address the drug crisis.
After requesting permission from the White House to conduct the survey of about 20,000 hemp farmers, The U.S.Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service announced in August that the forms are being finalized to be filled out via mail or online.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meanwhile, still hasn’t gotten around to issuing regulations for hemp-derived cannabidiol products, but it announced last year that it plans to use Reddit and other “novel” data sources to gain a better understanding of public health issues surrounding use of CBD and other “emerging” cannabis derivatives like delta-8 THC.
Federal, state and local officials convened for a national conference this month where members discussed and advanced proposals to establish standards for marijuana products that could later be formally adopted into a federal handbook overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
While Biden hasn’t granted mass clemency for people with marijuana convictions, his administration did take a first step toward granting presidential relief to hundreds of people on home confinement for federal drug convictions last year, with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) asking eligible individuals to get the process started by filing out clemency applications.
Biden Nominees On Drug Policy
Several of Biden’s pick to lead key agencies have unique drug policy backgrounds. And some of those choices who’ve since been confirmed have been applauded by advocates.
Activists initially weren’t sure what to make of Attorney General Merrick Garland when he was nominated because of his limited record, but they were relieved during his confirmation proceedings to hear that he wasn’t preparing a crackdown on legal cannabis states.
While he’s yet to reinstitute the Obama era guidance offering some level of protection for states that have legalized, he has said on several occasions that DOJ resources shouldn’t be spent going after people operating in compliance with state cannabis laws.
He also hasn’t acted on calls from lawmakers to use his own authority to swiftly end federal cannabis prohibition.
ONDCP Director Rahul Gupta worked as a consultant to Holistic Industries, a multi-state cannabis operator, for nine months in 2020. Prior to his confirmation, Gupta had already caught the attention of reform advocates given his record overseeing the implementation of West Virginia’s medical marijuana program as state health commissioner and chair of a key advisory board. He’s also publicly recognized both the therapeutic and economic potential of cannabis reform.
It was another relief to advocates that the president didn’t pick former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a cofounder of anti-legalization organization Smart Approaches To Marijuana (SAM), for the drug czar job, even after he personally lobbied for the nomination.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta (no relation to Rahul) was also repeatedly pressed on her drug policy views during her confirmation process, particularly where she stands on broad decriminalization. Advocates expressed frustration that she denied having endorsed decriminalization during the hearings despite having done so in past roles at reform organizations.
Former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was picked to lead HHS, and it was welcome news for advocates because he has a considerable record supporting cannabis reform and working to protect California’s legal program from federal interference.
For example, Becerra was one of 21 state attorneys general who sent a letter to congressional leaders in 2019 expressing support for a bipartisan bill to protect state-legal cannabis programs against federal intervention.
In October, Becerra also signaled that the administration would not block the establishment safe injection sites where people could use illicit drugs in a medically supervised environment as a means of curtailing the overdose epidemic—but it will ultimately be up to the Justice Department to follow through.
As California’s attorney general, Becerra joined counterparts from other states in signing onto an amicus brief supporting a group’s case to set up a harm reduction center. After making supportive remarks about the facilities as HHS secretary, however, a department spokesperson clarified that “HHS does not have a position on supervised consumption sites.”
Biden’s nominee for FDA commissioner has acknowledged the potential medical benefits of marijuana. Robert Califf, who previously served a short stint as the FDA head under the Obama administration, also said that he actually prescribed a cannabinoid drug as a doctor. He’s yet to be confirmed, however.
Tom Vilsack, Biden’s nominee to run USDA who has since been confirmed, gave final approval to a federal rule laying out regulations for the hemp industry in March 2021. He’s widely considered an ally of the hemp industry.
The head of DEA who Biden selected previously described a New Jersey medical marijuana bill as “workable” while serving at the state’s attorney general. Although the former top state prosecutor, Anne Milgram, doesn’t appear to have publicly detailed her personal views on cannabis reform, the limited comments she made over a decade ago signal that, at the very least, she’s open to allowing states to enact their own marijuana policies despite federal prohibition.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently said that that freeing up banks to work with state-legal marijuana businesses would “of course” make the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) job of collecting taxes easier. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said this month that he’s confident that Biden would support his cannabis banking bill if it arrived on his desk in part because of the conversations he’s had with Yellen about the issue.
Adewale Adeyemo, who Biden picked for the role of Treasury deputy secretary, said in February 2021 that he would look into the possibility of updating 2014 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance on marijuana banking.
Isabel Guzman, who was picked and confirmed to lead the federal Small Business Administration (SBA), told senators last year that she would examine marijuana businesses’ inability to receive aid that is available to companies in other industries. She also promised last year to “explore” ways the agency could change its policy on prohibiting people with certain criminal convictions—including over marijuana—from accessing federal business loans and other services.
It’s also worth noting that the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, has repeatedly made comments on the need for a drug decriminalization model while Biden has been in office, though her tenure predates this presidency.
What To Expect From Biden In 2022
Advocates aren’t necessarily holding their breath for a 2022 marijuana reform push from the White House, but they certainly plan to continue to put pressure on the Biden administration in the new year and see opportunities for at least incremental reform.
With respect to federal agencies and their various heads, it seems the infrastructure is in place to continue to advance incremental policy changes that are less punitive and more science-centered with respect to cannabis, psychedelics and broader drug reform.
Toi Hutchinson, former senior advisor on cannabis to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and current CEO and president of the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment that it is unfortunate that states have so far lacked “guidance or participation from the federal government” on the cannabis reform front.
“States are left to develop and impose their own testing, health and safety rules. Banks are afraid of violating criminal law by serving licensed operators,” she said. “Individuals in one state compete for state licenses to produce and sell cannabis on an industrial scale, where they face arrest, prosecution, and jail in a neighboring state to even possess a single gram of the same substance.”
“Democrats, including President Biden when he was on the campaign trail, have been clear in their support for cannabis reform, and voters listened,” she said. “Whether it’s full legalization in 2022, or simply the ability for cannabis businesses to get a bank or get tax relief, we expect to see cannabis reform because that is exactly what we were told.”
South Dakota Governor Demands Cannabis Advocates Cover Legal Costs
Not content with triumphing in court, conservative South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem wants cannabis advocates to pick up the tab, too.
A spokesperson for Noem said last week that organizers behind the nullified amendment to legalize cannabis in the Mount Rushmore State should have to cover the expenses stemming from the governor’s own legal challenge against the law.
In 2020, 54 percent of voters in South Dakota approved Amendment A, which would have legalized cannabis for adults ages 21 and older. However, things got very complicated very quickly.
Noem was a vocal opponent of the amendment throughout the campaign and maintained her objections even after its passage.
Two law enforcement officials brought a lawsuit on Noem’s behalf, challenging the constitutionality of Amendment A. In February of last year, a circuit court judge in South Dakota agreed, striking down the amendment.
The state Supreme Court took up the case in April and, in late November, upheld the lower court’s ruling, saying that Amendment A, which dealt with both medicinal and recreational pot, violated South Dakota’s “one subject” requirement for constitutional amendments.
Noem, widely seen as a potential 2022 Republican presidential contender, celebrated the ruling.
“South Dakota is a place where the rule of law and our Constitution matter, and that’s what today’s decision is about,” the governor said in a statement at the time. “We do things right—and how we do things matters just as much as what we are doing. We are still governed by the rule of law. This decision does not affect my Administration’s implementation of the medical cannabis program voters approved in 2020. That program was launched earlier this month, and the first cards have already gone out to eligible South Dakotans.”
A poll last month found that more than 50 percent of South Dakotans disapprove of Noem’s handling, the only policy area in which she received low marks. (The same poll found that her overall approval rating stands at 61 percent.)
An attorneys group in Sioux Falls, South Dakota “received $142,000 in December for successfully arguing that Amendment A violated the state Constitution,” according to the Argus Leader newspaper.
Ian Fury, a spokesman for Noem’s office, said that expense should be paid by the individuals who brought Amendment A to the ballot.
“The proponents of Amendment A submitted an unconstitutional amendment and should reimburse South Dakota taxpayers for the costs associated with their drafting errors,” Fury told the Argus Leader.
The group behind the amendment, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, said simply, “That will not happen.”
“South Dakota cannabis reform advocates have no obligation to pay for Governor Noem’s political crusade to overturn the will of the people. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous,” said Matthew Schweich, the campaign director for South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws.
“Amendment A was a sensible and well-drafted initiative approved by a majority of South Dakota voters at the ballot box, and it was only repealed due to a deeply flawed court ruling that relied on a far-fetched legal theory lacking evidentiary support. Driven by her desire to deprive South Dakotans of personal freedom on cannabis, Governor Noem went out of her way to create an unnecessary legal battle over Amendment A and used taxpayer money to do it. As a result of her actions, South Dakotans paid to have their own votes reversed.”
South Dakota voters approved a separate measure at the ballot in 2020 that specifically legalized medical cannabis and, in November, qualifying patients there began applying for cards.
Meanwhile, lawmakers there have prepared dozens of bills aimed at reforming the state’s marijuana laws during this year’s legislative session.
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